FROM JONAH’S DAD
As our “Jonah-Inspired” campaign continues (and we ever-so-gently, and with unabashed desperation, encourage you to donate), we’re sharing with you some of our favorite projects, hoping to inspire you as we ourselves have been inspired … to remember Jonah by bringing increased goodness into the world.
The Jonah Maccabee Jewish Life Fund focuses on supporting and nurturing programs and organizations that help to sustain a vibrant, purposeful spiritual life for Jewish young people in North America and across the globe.
Jonah loved his Jewish communities: Woodlands Community Temple in Westchester, NY; URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA; URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY; and NFTY (the North American Federation of Temple Youth). Each of these gatherings fed Jonah’s heart and his soul, helping him to find safe spaces in the world, continually reminding him that he was a precious and needed part of Creation, and providing opportunities for him to help make the world a better and safer space for others.
When Jonah’s life ended, we wanted to offer our thanks for the many blessings he had given and received throughout his all-too-brief stay with us. If his life had to conclude that soon, we were so thankful he got to live it in the ways that he did. The Jonah Maccabee Jewish Life Fund is one of the three pathways we constructed for continuing to express his joys and his dreams through other young people’s lives.
When Jonah became a Bar Mitzvah, Seeds of Peace was an organization and a dream that he felt was pretty cool and important. Seeds of Peace brings Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian teenagers to a camp in Maine, together allowing them to develop empathy, respect, and confidence as well as leadership, communication and negotiation skills, all critical components that will facilitate peaceful coexistence for the next generation.
When the evening was over, everyone who attended Jonah’s party was sent home with a pushke, a tzedakah box, embossed on one side with information about Seeds of Peace, encouraging his fellow merrymakers to play their own roles in promoting peace in the Middle East. Yes, it would help the Jewish people but Jonah understood that peace would improve the lives of everyone in that troubled region. Just the kind of dream he adored the most.
I like to think that Jonah would be on the front lines of this battle. What I know for sure is that he continually inspires me to do what I can, to do what he cannot, to make a positive impact in this very difficult world.
I humbly ask that you donate to our December campaign, “Jonah-Inspired,” so that together — you and I and all the beautiful, kind folks who join us on this shared journey — can help Seeds of Peace continue the vital work of helping young people change their narrative, so that they might not only DREAM about a better world but, when they grow up, will feel it worthwhile to do the hard work of getting there.
The Jonah Maccabee Foundation